PM Modi declares Mangarh Dham in Rajasthan national monument, urges states to work for welfare of tribals

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday declared Mangarh Dham in Rajasthan’s Banswara district a national monument and urged the governments of Rajasthan, Gujarat Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra to “join the central government” to develop the memorial dedicated to Govind Guru into a world tourist spot. He also asked the governments to “pledge to work together” for the welfare of tribal communities in the four states.

Sharing the stage with Ashok Gehlot, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Bhupendra Patel — chief ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat respectively — Modi paid tributes to the 1,500 tribals, led by Govind Guru, who were massacred by the British at Mangarh Dham on November 17, 1913. Addressing an audience comprising Bhil tribals from the three states, Modi said the incident was an “example of the brutality of the British” that carried the “mindset of oppressive slavery”. He said India is “correcting the mistake” of excluding the contributions of tribals from the history of the country’s freedom struggle.

“The November 17, 1913, massacre that happened here was an example of the brutality of the British… On the one hand, there were innocent tribals who believed in the concept of freedom and on the other hand, there were the British with the mindset of oppressive slavery across the world. They ambushed more than 1,500 tribals, including women, aged and children, and put them to death in cold blood. It was a sin. Unfortunately, the place that the tribals could have got in the pages of history was not given,” Modi said.

“Today, in the 75th year of India’s Independence, the country is correcting its mistakes and filling that gap. India’s past, history, present, and future without the tribal community are incomplete. Even our freedom struggle has pages filled with sacrifice and tribal courage… Even before the 1857 revolt, the tribals in Santhal started the first fight against the British in 1780. In 1832, Budhu Bhagat led the Kol and Larka Andolan and in 1855, the fire was ignited across other tribal areas. Birsa Munda, who lost his life very young, left behind his energy and courage for other tribal fighters… There is no chapter in the history of India’s freedom where tribals did not hold the torch in the struggle,” said Modi.

Modi remembered Alluri Sitarama Raju, who started the armed revolution against the British In Andhra Pradesh, as well as other tribal leaders of Rajasthan, crediting them for fighting the British along with Maharana Pratap, and said, “we are indebted to the tribal sacrifices right from freedom struggle to the environment to culture. Tribals have nurtured and preserved India. This is a moment to thank the tribal community.”

“There has been a discussion on expanding tourism in Mangarh in Banswara. The four states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra have to work together. It is my request to all four governments to discuss at length the development of Mangarh and to create a roadmap so that this memorial of Govind Guru becomes a world tourist spot. This memorial will be an inspiration for the young and future generations. I assure you that we will, as soon as we can, develop this into a more organised tourist spot, led by the Union government working with the four state governments. I request everyone to take a pledge to participate in the development of the tribal community,” said Modi.

Modi heaped praises on Govind Guru and said that the governments were working to build museums to showcase the tribal legacy so that youth and future generations draw inspiration from unsung heroes. “It was Govind Guru’s death anniversary on October 30… As CM of Gujarat, I had been honoured to be able to serve the area of Mangarh which is under Gujarat. Govind Guru spent his last days there. Earlier this entire stretch was barren… Today, you have turned it into a forest with so much greenery here. I want to thank all the people of this place for accepting my request for afforestation in 2012.”

“Govind Guru was a representative of the values and culture of India. He was not the king of any land but he was the leader of lakhs of tribals. Despite losing his family, he did not lose courage. He turned every weak, poor tribal Indian into his own family. If Govind guru blew the bugle against British oppression, he also fought against the social evils of his own community. He was a social reformer, spiritual leader, seer, public figure, and educationist. He was a thinker and his learnings are visible in Mangarh. The inspiration we can draw from his courage and wisdom is present in the earth of Mangarh. The ideals of unity he has left behind continue to lead us towards brotherhood, belonging and love,” Modi said.

“Education, water, health, and employment in tribal areas are our priorities. Tribal communities are also being connected to digital India… So that the tribal youth get equal opportunities, universities are being made,” he added.

Modi said that the inauguration of the 300-kilometre broad-gauge railway line connecting Asarva to Udaipur would benefit tourism and industrial development in the tribal areas of Rajasthan.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said India had faltered in “teaching the correct history” after Independence. The correct history of freedom struggle was not taught after Independence but now, Modiji has also decided to celebrate the Janjatiya Gaurav divas on November 15, and in MP, we will do so by implementing the PESA Act in tribal areas.”

Ashok Gehlot urges PM Modi to intervene in inter-state railway project

Speaking at the event, Congress Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot urged PM Modi to intervene in a ‘suspended’ railway project connecting Banswada to Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to boost tourism to the Mangarh memorial.

Stating that Modi was “receiving respect” across the world as he was representing the land of India, Gehlot said, “I am glad that PM Narendra Modi has arrived in Mangarh Dham… The history of Mangarh is written in golden letters in India’s freedom struggle. It is a matter of pride for us that Mangarh has been turned into a memorial. We had requested the PM that Mangarh should also be given prominence in the country’s narrative of the freedom struggle, under the leadership of Gandhiji. There were so many leaders — Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad… How we were under slavery earlier… Today India has reached heights in the world. When Modiji travels the world, he gets so much respect. Why? It is because he comes from the land of India, where there was Gandhiji, where there is strong democracy which has survived even after 70 years.”

Urging Modi to study the ‘Chiranjeevi Yojana’ of the Rajasthan government to model health services across the country, Gehlot said, “we, in Rajasthan, have worked hard for tribal development. Our universities are flourishing in tribal areas. We have the Chiranjeevi yojana model of universal health services. It is my request to you (Modi) to take a look at the scheme as it can be implemented across the country… On this occasion, I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that Banswada is not connected by rail. The project has already been approved and commenced after we allotted the land, but it is now suspended. If you can push this project with the Ministry of Railways to be completed. It will help connect Banswara to Dungarpur and Ahmedabad and allow tourists to come to Banswada… I know you have gathered a lot of information about Mangarh before coming here. I request that you declare this as a national memorial.”

Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel offers condolences to Morbi victims’ families

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel offered condolences to the families of the victims of the Morbi suspension bridge tragedy. “I offer condolences to the dear ones of those who passed away in the tragic accident in Morbi two days ago. I pray for the souls of the departed persons to be granted rest. We are grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for staying with us in this hard time and guiding us to lead Gujarat out of this grief. The Army, NRDF and defence forces have lent a big helping hand in the rescue operations in Morbi,” Patel said.

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